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Six Living Kidney Donors & Two Kidney Recipients Featured on Today Show

SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 1, 2016 – Five living kidney donors and one kidney recipient ran the nearly 200-mile, overnight Ragnar Relay So Cal from Huntington Beach to San Diego to raise awareness that people can still lead normal, healthy lives after donation and to inspire others to take action in support of living and deceased donation. The group was later featured on the Today show (video above).

Over the course of two days and one night, each participant on team “One Kidney Run” ran six times, with each leg ranging between three and twelve miles, varying in difficulty. In addition, one kidney recipient and one living kidney donor supported the team as van drivers.

Participants included:

  • Randy Fleet (San Diego), who received a kidney from his brother
  • Kathy Vochoska (Bakersfield) and Rebecca Clark (Laguna Niguel), who donated to their sons
  • Fernando Landeros (South El Monte), who donated to a friend
  • Ivan Sablan (Escondido) of the San Diego Police Dept., who donated to a stranger.
  • Sal Torres (Chico), a kidney and pancreas recipient via a deceased donor.
  • Jelani Polk (Bakersfield), a two-time kidney recipient via a deceased and a living donor
  • Lorena Rodriguez (San Diego), who donated a kidney to a stranger.

Special thanks to Sunroad Automotive and Pacific Honda in San Diego and Motor City Buick GMC in Bakersfield for supporting team One Kidney Run by providing vehicles to shuttle the runners along the route.

Donate Life California Shares Life-saving Message of Organ & Tissue Donation at 53rd California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference

MONTEREY BAY, Calif., Feb. 15, 2016 – Donate Life California, the nonprofit state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry, is participating for the third straight year in the California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference hosted by California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (CAHHS). The 53rd annual conference is Feb. 15 – 18, 2016 in Monterey Bay.

Donate Life California will present to the more than 300 hospital volunteers in attendance about the critical need for organ donors and share ways they can help inspire Californians to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Conference attendees will hear stories of donor heroes, including Sisto Fuentes of Porterville. Sisto became an organ, eye and tissue donor in February 2014, saving and healing dozens of lives. One of the people he saved was George Grimm of Salinas, who received Sisto’s heart and one of his kidneys after battling advanced heart disease and kidney failure. During the conference, George will share how organ donation gave him his life back and allows him to continue raising his two grandsons. Sisto’s brother, Freddie Fuentes, will share how his brother’s gift to George has also been a gift to the Fuentes family.

“My brother was always a giver. His death was unfortunate and devastating, but being able to save George’s life and the lives of so many others has been a tremendous blessing to our family,” says Freddie. “We miss Sisto.  His death has left a huge hole in our hearts, but because of organ, eye and tissue donation, he lives on.”

“While hospital volunteers are not directly involved in the organ, eye and tissue donation process, they can encourage people in their communities to sign up on the Donate Life California Registry,” says Monica Johnson, president of the Donate Life California board of directors. “Only 43 percent of Californians are registered donors. We’re asking hospital volunteers to join our mission to help increase donor registration.”

Donate Life California has developed a resource for hospital volunteers called the Hospital Volunteer Online Toolkit, which is available at The toolkit offers guidance for hospital volunteers on how they can:

  • Become involved in Donate Life activities in their hospitals, including Blue & Green Day on Friday, April 15, 2016.
  • Request a speaker – either a donor family member or a transplant recipient – for a gathering, meeting or event.
  • Talk about organ, eye and tissue donation in their communities.

Those attending the conference can also visit the Donate Life California exhibit table on Tuesday and Wednesday for more information.

All Californians can register to be donors by checking “YES!” at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by signing up at

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • 21,913 people in California are on the national organ transplant waiting list (121,515).
  • More than 29,000 people in the U.S. begin new lives each year thanks to organ transplants (about 81 transplants every day).
  • 22 people die each day because the life-saving organ they needed did not become available in time.

About Donate Life California:
Donate Life California is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Individuals can add their name to the registry by checking “YES!” every time they renew/apply for their driver license or ID card at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This ensures their desire to donate life will be carried out. A pink “DONOR” dot is added to their driver license or ID as a symbol of their decision. Individuals can also sign up online at or As a public service, the registry ensures all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs): Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services.

Media Contact: Brianne Mundy Page, 858-220-8351,

Donor Network West and San Ramon Regional Announce Innovative Organ Recovery Partnership

Donor Network West(San Ramon, CA) February 12, 2016 – Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization that heals lives through organ and tissue donation in northern California and Nevada, announced a partnership with San Ramon Regional Medical Center. Under the collaboration, the first of its kind in California, specific organ donors will be transferred to the hospital’s facilities as a way to accommodate a more certain time frame for donor families for the recovery of organs.

Organ recovery has traditionally been performed at community hospitals, utilizing the hospital’s resources. Many times, the requested time frame from donor families is difficult to accommodate within the busy hospital setting. This agreement allows for the transplant team to complete recoveries at San Ramon Regional’s on-campus Ambulatory Surgery Center, located across the street from Donor Network West’s headquarters.

“Honoring and respecting the donors and families that we serve is at the core of our mission. This change in practice will help relieve some of the organ recovery timing stress for these families and allow for better planning during a very difficult time,” says Cindy Siljestrom, CEO of Donor Network West.

Donor Network West partners with 175 hospitals in 40 counties. Along with a more certain time frame for donor families, transferring specific organ donors to San Ramon Regional Medical Center will improve the logistical challenges of transporting staff and surgeons across the region.

“We are excited to partner with the Donor Network to perform this important work, and look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of the tri-valley and beyond,” said Gary Sloan, CEO of San Ramon Regional Medical Center.

In celebration of this new partnership, and as a symbol of San Ramon Regional Medical Center’s commitment to saving lives, the Donate Life flag will be raised at the hospital. The flag pays tribute to donors and recipients whose lives have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation.

There are 10,600 people waiting for an organ transplant in northern California and Nevada, of which 900 reside in Contra Costa County. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 50 others. Anyone can register as a donor at or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

About San Ramon Regional Medical Center
San Ramon Regional Medical Center is a 123-bed, acute-care hospital with 24-hour emergency care, inpatient and outpatient services. After undergoing an on‐site evaluation and demonstrating compliance with nationally developed standards for stroke care, San Ramon Regional has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for certification as a Primary Stroke Center, serving as a Stroke Receiving Hospital for Contra Costa County. Other hospital programs include: Blood Conservation, Breast Center, Cardiac Care, Cancer Care, Diabetes & Nutrition Services, Birthing Center, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Spine & Joint Treatment, a Wound Care Center and Outpatient Therapy Services. For more information, visit


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